Most often, what causes acid reflux is a result of what we eat (a few medical conditions aside). While some of us are more prone to the disease than others, it’s worth taking a second to reflect on your diet and habits so that you can avoid this grossly uncomfortable ailment. Here is a run-down of what causes acid reflux, what it actually is (don’t worry, it’s not the heart attack it feels like!) and what you can do to get rid of it.
Acid reflux is a disease that occurs when food or liquid in the stomach leak backwards from the stomach and into the esophagus, causing irritation that results in heartburn and other symptoms.
Some 60 percent of adults will experience a form of acid reflux within a 12-month period, with 20-30 percent of adults experiencing it weekly. Approximately 7 million Americans have a form of acid reflux and its incidence rates are rising. Between 1998 to 2005, acid reflux diagnosis jumped by 216 percent. For infants, diagnosis increased by 42 percent and for children, 84 percent.
Now, when children – to say nothing about infants - are starting to develop a condition my grandfather struggles with, you know there’s something wrong with the way things are going. Such rates are showing that acid reflux is becoming more and more common and there is one gaping reason why: diet. A bad diet is causing indigestion and, naturally, acid reflux.
With hospitalization for obesity having increased by 112 percent between 1996 to 2004 alone, let’s just say America, on the whole, isn’t getting any skinnier. Obesity is linked to the development of acid reflux and its frequency. And most of acid reflux’s causes are attributed to food or drink consumption. These include:
- Eating a large meal
- Lying down after a large meal
- Being overweight or obese
- Snacking close to bedtime
- Eating fatty foods
- Eating citrus, tomato, chocolate, mint, garlic, onions or spicy food
- Drinking alcohol, carbonated drinks, coffee or tea
- Being pregnant
- Taking certain medications, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, muscle relaxers and blood pressure medications
If you experience acid reflux, take a moment to reflect. Do you often finish all the food on your plate simply because it’s there or because you were actually hungry for it? Do you smoke too often? Do you drink more fizzy drinks than water? Small changes can make the big difference and both your and your children’s lives.
Cut down on overeating and avoid acidic foods. Instead, opt for highly-alkaline foods - think green leaves, vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds.
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